New Criticals


[1] Not to mention, rather obviously, money and value.

[2] The original bet being that, while a computer generates the puzzle, it cannot solve it. In the case of reCAPTCHA, the computer essentially can do neither.

[3] Respectively - Western knowledge, capitalism, computer users, technology companies.

[4] Emphasis added.

[5] Any lingering doubt to be had on the relevance of an object like reCAPTCHA (now 5 years old) should be exocrised in light of the April 1st issue of the New York Times Magazine. Running a short piece on human computation that encapsulates the popular attitude towards these technologies, the position of the article is a performance of an attitude that has its foundations in the unasked questions of 5, 10, 15 years ago. Annie Lowrey notes that mTurk labor, concentrated in India, is improving computer programs, but embraces a positionless utopian ideal that perhaps this microlabor will, maybe in the long run, improve employment and stuff like that at some point, but also what a curiosity this computer stuff is! We humans are "remarkably adept...the challenge, in other words, is for humans to allow software, algorithms, robots and the like to propel them into higher-and-higher-value work." More company dribble, uncritical sophistry disengaged from the real organization of the web and its many facets, the mechanisms of its power control. "For now, at job is safe." It will indeed be a day of celebration when computer algorithms can handle the bulk of the first-person press release that is most of online "culture" writing today. May it happen swiftly.


Thompson, Clive. "For Certain Tasks, the Cortex Still Beats the CPU." Wired. Conde Nast, 25 June 2007. Web. 1 Mar. 2013.